Useful Links

  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention:

    Upward Bound:

    The Upward Bound Programs at MCC are federally funded academic enrichment programs for high school students living in Hopkins, Muhlenberg, and Webster Counties.

    Infinite Campus Parent Portal:

    Keep up with your students progress with the parent portal. You can check grades, missing assignments, etc.




    Image via Pixabay by Counselling


    Five Tips for Helping Your Depressed Teenager


    Watching your teenager go through depression is incredibly painful. Parents often feel like their hands are tied. You don’t want to hover too much, but you also want to be there when your child is in need. For parents struggling to find the right way to help their depressed teen, here are five ways to provide support:


    Talk with your teenager. Have regular conversations with your teen and ask about his day, what he’s been up to, and how he feels. Ask probing questions, but don’t push too hard for information he isn’t ready to give. Have these conversations in the car or while making an afternoon snack to take the pressure off. Listen to your teen and let him speak without interruption. It’s crucial to make sure he feels heard and understood.


    Accentuate the positives. Notice the positive things your teenager does, and more than that, show sincere appreciation. In the chaos of the day, it can be difficult to realize just how much she does to help. Keeping her room clean, helping her little sister with homework, and setting the table for dinner might be expectations, but it doesn’t mean you appreciate it any less. It’s important to recognize that.


    Make sure he’s staying active. Depression can cause sufferers to feeldrowsy, but it’s important to keep him moving. Encourage him to get outside for a walk or bike ride. Time in the pool has also been shown to help people in recovery improve mood and fight depression. So, if your child likes swimming, that might be a great way for them to get some exercise. If the body feels good, the mind is likely to follow!


    Pay attention to his diet. Provide meals rich inomega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts and spinach. Omega-3s have been known to act as mood-lifting agents. Throw in some folate and Vitamin B12 for a boost in serotonin, which can normalize a person’s mood: peaches, egg yolks, broccoli, and potatoes are all excellent options.


    Encourage your teen to be social. It’s common for depressed teenagers to withdraw from their loved ones, but this can actually make symptoms worse. Keep him involved in the family with consistent family dinners and weekly game nights. Encourage him to join a club or team sport, and invite him to have his friends over. Though depression can lead to a general disinterest and lack of motivation, teens often experience a mood lift once they’re actively engaged.


    Remember that the most important thing you can do for your teen when he’s dealing with depression is to be a pillar of support and understanding. As long as he knows you’re on his side, you can navigate the stormy waters together.


    Patricia Sarmiento loves swimming and running. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.



    10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself About Boosting Your Child's Intelligence

    Posted by Dr. Dave Walsh • September 30

    I am writing this one month into the school year and your kids are well into doing their homework and investing in big assignments. Every parent wants their child to succeed in school - but do you really know what intelligence is made of? It isn't just about IQ scores or test results.

    The more "yes" answers you have to the questions below, the more likely you are to foster intelligence in your children.

    • I understand that effort is as important as genes in determining IQ.
    • I realize that the way I praise my children has an impact on their academic performance.
    • I know that talking to my child and listening to their opinions is important.
    • I know how important sleep and physical exercise is for intelligence.
    • I realize that it is more important for my child to wrestle with challenging classes than just to get good grades.
    • I know how important memory and attention are to learning.
    • I know that self-discipline is even more important than IQ when it comes to success.
    • I understand that teachers and schools do make a difference.
    • I try to avoid telling my children how smart they are and emphasize their effort, persistence, willingness to ask tough questions, and other qualities instead.
    • I understand that stress can influence my child's capacity to learn.

    This isn't meant to be a pass/fail quiz. It is merely a quick checklist to remind us that kids aren't born with "smart" or "stupid" brains. Their intelligence is built through experience and practice



    The Science Behind Tired Teens

    by Dr. Dave Walsh 


    Getting my kids out of bed in the morning when they were teenagers felt like an epic battle of wills. I remember my son Brian begging for just five more minutes of sleep as if his life depended on it. Convinced that his fatigue was caused by going to bed too late, we tried to convince him to close his eyes earlier than eleven o'clock.

    "I'm just not tired!" he would protest. "You can make me go my room, but I'm not going to be able to sleep!"

    All three of my kids went from cheerful early risers to exhausted night owls when they hit adolescence. It seemed that every parent we talked with was experiencing the same patterns with their own teenagers--alert at night, comatose in the morning, and practically hibernating on the weekends.

    Sleep and the Teen Brain

    The explanation for how Brian turned into a night owl is, like so many things, found in the teen brain. Perhaps you've heard of the hormone melatonin. I like to think of it as "sleepy." When it gets dark a part of the brain called the hypothalamus sends a message to the pineal gland to increase production of melatonin. As melatonin concentrations rise, we feel more and more sleepy. After we've gotten sufficient rest, melatonin dips and we wake up.

    Beginning at puberty, this cycle changes. Young people experience melatonin surges later at night and melatonin dips later in the morning. The result is a night owl who hasn't gotten near enough sleep when the alarm rings for school at 6 AM.

    Complicating things even more, adolescents need more sleep than adults. The old "eight hour rule" does not apply to teens. In fact, the teenage brain needs about nine and a half hours of sleep every night. Are most teenagers getting it? Not by a long shot. Research shows that the average teen gets seven and a half hours of sleep a night, falling two hours short of what they need.

    The result: a nation of sleep-deprived adolescents.

    As I think back, it is clear that some of the power struggles around sleep that we had with Brian had nothing to do with a bad attitude or poor decision-making. It was what was going on inside his brain.

    Tired brains suffer in school

    The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation for teens go beyond fatigue. A clinical psychologist at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Avi Sadeh, found a significant performance gap between sleep deprived and well rested students. Students who got just one less hour of sleep per night for three nights in a row experienced a cognitive slide equivalent to two grade levels.

    Likewise, a recent study conducted by sleep researcher Dr. Carskadon found that high school students who got poor grades slept an average of 25 minutes less and went to bed 40 minutes later than those who got A’s and B’s.

    When it comes to children and sleep, there are huge academic consequences to even small bits of sleep deprivation.

    Tired brains suffer in other ways too.

    Sleeping teens look so relaxed it is hard to imagine that their brains are hard at work - sifting through the day's learning and memories, solidifying new synapses, retiring weak ones, and solving problems. Brain scans show that the brain is quite active during sleep. Adequate sleep is a core ingredient for learning and memorymood and emotion regulation,safe driving, and physical health.

    It is clear that not getting enough sleep is hard on both the body and the mind.

    What can be done?

    Just because teens' circadian rhythms change at adolescence, doesn't mean that they need to resign themselves to a decade of fatigue and poor health. Researchers at the University of Minnesota just released a three year study looking at the impact of later school start times on student achievement and health. They found that when high schools switched to a later start time:

    • Attendance, test scores, and academic performance improved;
    • Tardiness, substance abuse, depression, and consumption of caffeinated beverages decreased.

    School districts have to make very difficult decisions about start times based on budgets, bussing, sports, and complicated scheduling. I am certainly empathetic to their plight. But from the perspective of brain science, it is clear that teens benefit from the extra hours of sleep.

    You can have a big influence on your teen's sleep as well. Here are some ideas for ways to encourage your children and teens alike to get the sleep they need. What would you add to the list?